How to Avoid a Dangerous Office Affair

38% of us have dated a coworker at least once in our lives, according to a survey conducted this year by CareerBuilder.

If you’re one of those who have not, this number may appear alarmingly high. Most, however, believe that percent actually leans to the low end. Competing organization Vault ran a simialr survey for seven years straight. In its most recent year, the survey suggested 59% of office workers have dated a colleague before.

Are these relationships good or bad? Well, some destroy careers. Others lead to marriage. In fact, 31% of them lead to marriage.

SEE ALSO: Why You Hate Your Office

And these relationships don’t just start in the office. 13% happen by simply running into a colleague outside work, 12% happen during happy hours, 11% happen during lunches, and 10% happen during late nights at work. They can ignite anywhere, anytime. We’re all human, after all.

Let’s put aside the debate of whether dating a coworker is a good or bad idea. Say you’re already in a relationship, perhaps even married, and these intra-office temptations are abound. Gretchen Rubin, author of New York Times bestseller Happier at Home, offers tips on how to avoid these office affairs.

SEE ALSO: The 10 Most Common Mistakes Made During Job Interviews

1. Don’t flirt, even as a joke. It too easily becomes more.

2. Don’t have more than one drink when you’re with colleagues.

3. Don’t have a “work spouse,” AKA a cowroker you become dependant on for emotional (or any other type) of support.

4. Don’t meet with a colleague or client of the attractive sex unless it’s “an unmistakably professional context”—no baseball games without a third person.

5. Imagine your spouse or partner is in the room, or about to walk into the room, and see or hear whatever you are saying or doing. Does that make you uncomfortable? Then think about what line you may be crossing.

Photograph: Alamy